Reasons to Have Personal Genealogy Software


  • Where are you storing your valuable genealogical data? 
  • Is it safely under your control and backed up or is it on a third party website like Ancestry or FamilySearch? 
  • Have you considered using personal genealogical software to store your database but are unsure what would be best for you? 

Reasons to keep your own genealogical information safe in a personal software database and give you some ideas for choosing one from the many options available.

Reason #1 Keep a Copy of your Genealogy That You Control

If you’ve ever been frustrated because someone changed information for an ancestor on a collaborative, online tree, you’re not alone. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will and if you don’t have the information that you’ve researched in your own database, you may lose some of your work.

You may be using a private or public tree on a major website like Ancestry, FamilySearch, Find My Past, or My Heritage. What if you decide not to renew your subscription? Will you still be able to access your information? What if the company is bought by another company and the rules change? Having your tree on all of these websites will provide access to the hints generated, but don’t rely on websites to keep your research safe.

Reason #2 Store Information About Living Family Members

A personal genealogical database is a safe option for keeping track of extended family. If you’ve tested your DNA at any of the large companies, you now have matches with hundreds of cousins. If you have stored extended family names and relationships in your database, you’ll be able to quickly see how you’re connected.

Reason #3 Faster and More Research Capabilities

Have you ever wanted to work on a research problem, but the internet connection is slow and the online trees are taking forever to load up? You can waste valuable time in going back and forth between pages just to see what sources have been found or look at relationships.

A database on your computer doesn’t rely on the internet and can be used anywhere. There are multiple ways to view an individual and ways to sort information. A database is more powerful and has features that the online trees don’t have.

This article compares several selected client-based genealogy programs. Web-based genealogy software is not included.

Prepared by Bainbridge Island Genealogical Society